Singles who wish to apply for a rental flat but are unable to find a flatmate can now do so under a pilot programme, the Joint Singles Scheme Operator-Run (JSS-OR) pilot.
Applications for the new pilot model opened on Dec. 17, and the first batch of tenants are expected to move into their flats by end-January 2022, according to a press release by Housing Development Board (HDB).
Pilot for matching flatmates
The current JSS scheme requires singles to apply for a public rental flat with someone they know, such as a relative or friend.
Alternatively, they can also source for a flatmate by approaching HDB for a listing of other single persons.
The new JSS-OR pilot was announced in March 2021, allowing singles to apply for a rental flat individually, without first having to find a flatmate.
The appointed operator will then match them with a flatmate and manage the flat-sharing arrangements.
Can house 270 tenants
Social service agency Good News Community Services has been appointed to run the JSS-OR pilot at two sites, Blk 429A Bedok North Road and Blk 999A Buangkok Crescent, for three years.
Within each rental block, a few storeys of flats have been set aside for this new pilot.
The two sites can house about 270 tenants altogether, in a mix of one- and two-room flats.
The flats will come with partitions installed to provide more privacy for the tenants.
General household furnishings and appliances such as wardrobes, water heater, washing machine, and refrigerator, will also be provided within each flat for tenants’ use.
HDB will be calling a tender in January 2022 for a third site in Bukit Batok for the JSS-OR pilot.
Pairing up tenants
The appointed operator will interview prospective tenants to assess their personalities and needs before allocating the flats, said HDB.
A social worker will pair the tenants based on two principles — similarity and growth.
HDB explained that more similar tenants, in terms of gender, religion, ethnicity, spoken languages, age, lifestyle habits, employment and daily routines, are more likely to live together amicably.
HDB also said that social workers looking at the "growth" principle will consider the potential benefits the pairing can bring to the tenants in terms of peer support, as many of these tenants have no family support.
To help build rapport among tenants, Good News Community Services will conduct befriending and bonding activities, as well as regular check-ins with tenants.
It will also facilitate sharing sessions for tenants to get to know each other, promote good neighbourliness, and foster a sense of community.
If there are disputes among tenants, Good News Community Services will step in to mediate.
Tenants under the pilot model will be subject to the same eligibility conditions as the current JSS.
Eligible applicants must Singaporean citizens and single, with no family support and no other housing options.
To qualify as a single, the individual must be:
- Unmarried and at least 35 years old, or
- Divorced or legally separated from spouse, with legal documents, and at least 35 years old, or
- Widowed or orphaned, with at least one parent being a Singaporean citizen or Permanent Resident before their death.
Rent under the new pilot model will be similar to what tenants pay under the current JSS, along with their share of service and conservancy charges and utilities.
As a pilot, the JSS-OR model is currently only open to new applicants.
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